The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the New Horizons mission have accomplished their stated goal. The planet Pluto was explored and the quest to visit all planets in the solar system during the $700 million New Horizons mission was achieved. There was no doubt that history was made. Many wonder if the dollars spent on the mission could have been better devoted to social issues, especially as people were and are struggling to put food on the table. Many people believe these questions to be legitimate, and a lot of eyebrows were raised about what NASA aimed to achieve with this recent expedition, aside from glossy photos. A different perspective is that NASA has benefited all mankind and has already had an impact on future space missions, even before lift-off of this mission occurred.
Contribution to the Job Sector
The budget for the New Horizons mission was not entirely spent on the probe or on the journey to Pluto itself; in fact, most of the money was spent creating jobs for engineers, scientists, and technical and other support staff in building, designing and handling the mission itself. In doing so, NASA benefited the U.S. economy. Long-term missions require constant upkeep and support. Therefore, many people were able to keep their jobs. Furthermore, throughout the duration of the mission, NASA strived to conserve fuel and other resources to keep the mission going.
Leadership lessons learned
Every accomplishment in the history of mankind started as an idea. However, without great leadership and bold decisions, this idea could never mature. NASA once again proved, with the accomplishments of the New Horizons mission, what great leadership it has, and how it always strives to meet its goals and visions.
The Value of Teamwork
The news headlines are filled with entrepreneurs and businesses every day, but the reality is that great companies and big goals need an army of people or, at least, great teams, and such teams are not born great. Instead, they strive together like those in a relay race to meet their goals or missions. The New Horizons mission had an army of super-intelligent people. The best of the best came together for a common purpose to get the job done, down to the most minute of details. Therefore, it is in the best interest of a business or an organization to discover, train and keep such employees, while honing their skills to perfection.
The beauty about the New Horizons mission was that, since it was such a long mission, everybody trained and prepared for the worst from the beginning. The mission team had real expectations because it took nearly 10 years of planning, development and, finally, execution. An excellent workplace environment with an enduring team was the only way to get through such a rough and long mission.
Planning Is the Key
Any business or company requires a lot of planning to execute their goals. Moreover, it is highly unlikely any business would have to strive as hard as NASA, since its objectives are so diverse. However, if NASA had not planned to harness the gravity of some of the giant planets, conserving fuel and energy to slingshot its way towards Pluto, the mission would have failed due to insufficient resources.
Finally, the takeaway here is that one must look at the big picture and the outcome of this new NASA mission before making a decision as to whether or not the dollars spent were worth it. NASA not only accomplished their goals during the mission, but also aided the recovering economy of the U.S. in many ways.
Opinion by Ambereen Ahmed
Edited by Jennifer Pfalz
The Wall Street Journal: New Earth-Like Planet Discovered by NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope.
Space: NASA Finds Closest Earth Twin Yet in Haul of 500 Alien Planets
The New York Times: The Long, Strange Trip to Pluto, and How NASA Nearly Missed It
The Irish Times: Was the New Horizons mission to Pluto worth the time and money?
Entrepreneur: The New Horizons Pluto Mission Is Mind Blowing, and a Great Inspiration for Entrepreneurs
Top Photo Courtesy of Kevin Gill’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
Featured Photo Courtesy of Bricktop’s Flickr page – Creative Commons License